Daily Archives: December 28, 2009

Oliver Thomas: As 2010 Approaches It's time to look inward

Here’s where our religions might be able to help. It’s a fundamental tenet of most faiths that the journey inward precedes the journey outward. As Gandhi famously put it, we must embody the change we wish to see in the world. If the world is to be less violent, then I ”” not you ”” must be slower to anger and kinder in my speech. Is everyone who drives slower than I really an idiot? Are the ones who drive faster really maniacs? And what am I teaching my kids when I talk like this? If there is too much sex and violence on TV, then I must turn it off ”” not just complain to my wife that the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

This unwillingness to accept personal responsibility for one’s own share of a collective problem sometimes surfaces in marriage counseling. Here’s what I used to say to the individual who kept blaming his or her spouse: “Well, how much would you say is your fault? Ten percent?” “Oh, sure,” the person would reply. “I’m good for at least 10%.” “Great,” I would say. “Let’s talk about that 10%.”

It’s time to steal a play from members of the World War II generation. Those people took individual responsibility seriously. They were restrained in their speech and frugal with their money. And, they were determined to put more back in the world than they took out ”” especially when it came to their children. They understood that the greatest self-actualization (my generation’s obsession) came not through titillating their nerve endings but through service to others, whether on the battlefield or in their communities. Neither America’s problems nor the world’s are insurmountable if we can follow their example.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Religion & Culture, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

An LA Times Profile on Suffragan Bishop-elect Diane Bruce

But many in the Los Angeles diocese speak of Bruce, the longtime rector of St. Clement’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in San Clemente, in reverential tones.

A banking executive for 17 years before she entered the priesthood, Bruce is widely credited with saving her San Clemente church from economic ruin. Her banking background has put her in high demand throughout the diocese, with top leaders and church rectors seeking her counsel.

Those who know Bruce, who is married with two adult children, also say she is spiritual, direct and self-effacing, a priest who knows how to minister to rich and poor alike. She is a cancer survivor who speaks three languages — Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese — and understands the diocese’s multicultural makeup, they say.

“If people looked at who Diane is, they would be absolutely amazed,” said the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, the diocese’s primary bishop.

Bruce says she feels no ill will about [Mary] Glasspool’s capturing so much of the spotlight. “It never occurred to me that any attention would be paid to me being the first woman [bishop] because it’s been done before” in other dioceses, she said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, Women

The Canberra Times–I don't: the fall of marriage

The number of marriages in Canberra this year fell by more than 6.8 per cent as church influence continued to lose ground.

ACT Office of Regulatory Services data issued yesterday showed there were 1605 marriages in the ACT in 2008. By December 22 this year, only 1495 marriages had been recorded.

A comparison between civil and church marriages was unavailable.

But the Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Stuart Robinson, said his church had performed significantly fewer baptisms, marriages and funerals over the past decade.

He said the decline of marriages showed people were electing to enjoy partnerships without any Church involvement or marriage celebration.

”People are not connected with communities which take marriage seriously,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

In Zimbabwe Worshippers barred from churches on Christmas Day

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have condemned the recent resurgence of police intimidation of Anglicans in Zimbabwe. Church goers, including clergy and local bishops, have been barred from entering their churches and threatened with arrest and violence.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Religion & Culture, Zimbabwe

Lord Carey: Rise up against this arrogance

Christianity, the majority faith of Britain, is being systematically marginalised by combination of breath-taking political arrogance, and well- meaning political correctness.

In fact, at times it seems as though we nowadays resemble a cartoon character sawing away on a branch on which we are sitting only to find out too late that with the last push of the saw we will plunge to our ruin.

Make no mistake, our laws, literature and national character are hewn out of our national religion – Christianity.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Once Homeless a Chef Now Saves Lives

Check it out.

Watch for the answer to the question “what’s the greatest compliment you can receive?”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Poverty

The Lost Decade Financially from one Perspective in Graphic Form

Take a look.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, History, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

French Mosque’s Symbolism Varies With Beholder

The minaret of the new Grand Mosque of Marseille, whose cornerstone will be laid here in April, will be silent ”” no muezzin, live or recorded, will disturb the neighborhood with the call to prayer. Instead, the minaret will flash a beam of light for a couple of minutes, five times a day.

Normally, the light would be green, for the color of Islam. But Marseille is a port, and green is reserved for signals to ships at sea. Red? No, the firefighters have reserved red.

Instead, said Noureddine Cheikh, the head of the Marseille Mosque Association, the light will almost surely be purple ”” a rather nightclubby look for such an elegant building.

So is this assimilation? Mr. Cheikh laughs. “I suppose it is,” he said. “It’s a good symbol of assimilation.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, France, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Michael Nazir-Ali: We need a shared story to underpin our national life

Given the sea of troubles with which we are faced ”“ at home and elsewhere ”“ what can we look forward to as we face 2010? First, we need to accept that the financial and political crises are not primarily about the failure of procedures and regulation. The angst about the war in Afghanistan, similarly, is not just about the sad loss of life. The broader problem is that there has been the loss of a common narrative, a story which underpins our national life. In the past, this was provided by the Judaeo-Christian tradition, derived from the Bible. This narrative has been at the root of those values which we regard as particularly British, whether to do with the dignity of the human person, with fundamental freedoms of belief, speech and assembly, or with equality ”“ which is not about “sameness”, but a recognition of the image of God in others.

This tradition has also provided us with the virtues for which we have looked in vain in our economic and political leaders. The best of British business and politics has been characterised by a sense ”“ largely derived from the Bible’s teachings ”“ of responsibility, of trust, justice, fairness and truth-telling. In recent years, these virtues have been jettisoned, so that we can be more “competitive” in a cut-throat world, or engage in a more adversarial form of politics. We, and the generations to follow, will have to live with the consequences of this dissolution of a moral and spiritual framework for our common life.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the feast Day of Saint John

Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that we, being illumined by the teaching of thine apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that we may at length attain to the fullness of life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The US, India, China and Russia: economic heavyweights shape up for 2010

If 2009 was all about recession, for Wall Street, 2010 will be all about recovery. One of the first signs of this will be seen in bankers’ pay packets. January will be the month when investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, and the more diversified conglomerates such as Citigroup and Bank of America, release details of what they intend to pay the “masters of the universe”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Economy, Europe, Globalization, India, Russia

Ten Different NY Times Op-Ed Contributors on The Decade We Had

An interesting set of reflections.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History

Security failure in bomb incident expose system's weakness

The explosive allegedly used in the failed bombing plot aboard a transatlantic jetliner over Detroit on Christmas Day could have been detected by existing screening equipment, and the failure to do so reflects significant weaknesses in aviation security and intelligence, former U.S. government officials and international security experts said.

The compound that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly brought aboard Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam was PETN, or pentaerythritol tetranitrate, the same plastic explosive used almost exactly eight years ago by would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid, the FBI said. The attack sped the launch of the Transportation Security Administration, which took over and expanded airport security screening.

But technology and methods that might have detected the explosive have been deployed in airports on a limited basis in the face of concerns about privacy, cost and the potential to slow airport security lines.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Terrorism, Travel

Lowlights of a Downer Year: Dave Barry on the money, madness and misery of 2009

Wonderful stuff–read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

At Tiny Rates, Saving Money Costs Investors

Indeed, after fees are subtracted, inflation is accounted for and taxes are paid, many investors in C.D.’s, government bonds and savings and money market accounts are losing money. In fact, Northern Trust waived some $8 million in fees on money market accounts because they would have wiped out all interest, and then some.

“The unemployment situation and the general downturn in the economy had an impact, but what’s going to happen now as C.D.’s mature is that retirees and the elderly are going to take anywhere from a half to three-quarters of a percent cut in their incomes,” said Joe Parks, a retired accountant in Houston on the advisory board of Better Investing, an organization that works to help people become savvier investors. “It’s a real problem.”

Experts say risk-averse investors are effectively financing a second bailout of financial institutions, many of which have also raised fees and interest rates on credit cards.

“What the average citizen doesn’t explicitly understand is that a significant part of the government’s plan to repair the financial system and the economy is to pay savers nothing and allow damaged financial institutions to earn a nice, guaranteed spread,” said William H. Gross, co-chief investment officer of the Pacific Investment Management Company, or Pimco. “It’s capitalism, I guess, but it’s not to be applauded.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--